The sun was rising, spreading its golden arms through the pale sky. A few seagulls slid down the cloudless sky and landed on the grouping of rocks in the slim shore. A young woman sat in the sand, legs crossed and hands on her lap. She watched the waves, one by one as they came and touched the cold sand. If she focused enough, it was almost as if the sea was singing, the waves crying as they kissed the sand for the last time.
She had been only a child when raiders attacked her village and her family was murdered in front of her. She could still feel their blood, warm on her hands, after all those years. She had been taken as a slave, quickly forgetting what it was like to be free, to have an opinion and a choice. All she had was a life, empty and cold. For years, Thorunn believed that the Gods were punishing her. One day, without expecting it, she realized the Gods were smiling on her again, offering her a chance to start a new life. As a free woman. It was all because of him. He tried to heal her, but their love was a fire too bright and in the end they had both ended up burned. It broke her heart to see him reach out for her when all she could do was isolate herself even more, an attempt to save him from any more pain. The only comfort she had were the memories of their happy times. Her memories - the only thing not even the Gods could steal away.
The seagulls flew into the sky and circled over her head. She layed down on the sand as the waves seemed to come stronger and further, soaking her dress as they reached her waist. Closing her eyes, Thorunn thought of this new life of hers. She had wanted to be a warrior, just like Lagertha. She had dreamt of running into a battle field with the fierceness of a bull and proving, herself, her family, her husband, the Gods, that she had deserved that chance. Her glory had been dim and short, interrupted by an unexpected blow of a sword on her face. She had felt the blade pierce through her skin. A mark of weakness, of shame. A mark for a lifetime. She had risked everything, her relationship with Bjorn, her child and everything that her new life had offered her, only to prove herself as unfit. She could almost hear the Gods laughing at her, shaking their heads at her disgrace.
The army led by Ragnar would soon return from Paris. Bjorn would be back, a thunder wave that she was not prepared to receive. She was as broken as the sea shells brought by the raging waves. He deserved more, more than what she could ever offer him. Even their daughter deserved a better mother, one who had love and hope to give. But Thorunn had nothing but despair and sadness - the fire that once burned within her chest had died out a long time ago.
That afternoon, as the sun started to make its way back to the horizon, Thorunn made her last sacrifice. She asked the Gods for forgiveness, but also for pity, for she was trusting them all that she had left. As she headed to the mountains, a heavy cloak covering her head and a bag on her shoulder, she looked back at the small town that she had had the honour of calling home. She wondered if that was how the waves felt as they kissed the sand for the last time.